Characterization of pyrrhotite in Cu-Ni-ore bodies from mines in Botswana by Mossbauer spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and thermomagnetometry

Embaie Ferrow, Jacob Adetunji, John S. Nkoma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Cu-Ni ore bodies from five Botswana mines were investigated, using a combination of X-ray diffraction, thermomagnetic measurements, Mossbauer spectroscopy, and Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Absorption Electro-optic Spectroscopy (ICP-AES). The four dominant phases in the ores were found to be pyrrhotite, magnetite, pentlandite, and chalcopyrite. Mossbauer spectroscopy shows that pyrrhotite is the dominant Fe-bearing phase in the samples with 75 % in B-S1, 84 % in B-S2, and 80 % in B-S4 and was selected for detailed characterization. Our results show that the three first techniques provide an excellent approach to estimate the degree of polytype intermixing in pyrrhotite. Accordingly, the ores can be grouped into three types: A hexagonal (or peak-type), with a 5c stacking arrangement; a monoclinic (or Weiss-type), with a 4c stacking arrangement; and a mixture of monoclinic and hexagonal types. A low-temperature study of the monoclinic form shows that the low-temperature magnetic transition close to 35 K has features similar to the Verwey transition in magnetite induced by Jahn-Teller distortion due to orbital order-disorder transition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-664
JournalEuropean Journal of Mineralogy
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Geology

Keywords

  • magnetism
  • pyrrhotite
  • Mossbauer spectroscopy
  • Verwey transition
  • polytype

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